Rejoice! Rejoice! It’s Saturday. | November 22nd.

The weekend is exciting! So today, I felt like sharing things that currently have me excited. Let’s go!

I love cute blogging families (I actually just typed “flamlies” on accident. A cousin of mine used to say it that way. Hopefully I’ve ruined you all now. Welcome to the flamily!). My two current favorites are Fit Mama Real Food and Lauren’s Latest. I’ve been reading them both for a couple of years now. Whether you’re a mom or not, have kids or don’t, love food or don’t (or don’t? Is that possible?), both of these blogs are enjoyable to read. Strangely enough, I think both these families live near Portland, Oregon! Fit Mama Heather’s Instagram feed is just pure joy and full of her adorable son and daughter. I want to squeeze them! 😉 And Lauren just revealed a clip of her and her family in the kitchen. I hope there will be more videos like this soon! What family foodie blogs do you like?

Speaking of cute families and babies, I’m working on a fleece fox toy for my little cousin for Christmas! She’s just about the cutest thing (my cousin…well, and the fox!). Here is the free pattern. I’m not an extremely experience sewer, so I’ll I’ve done so far is cut out the pattern. Makin’ progress! I really hope I get to see my little cousin during the holidays so I can give her the fox in person.

Fox Pattern
I’ve been on a boot hunt for months. I’ve had one pair of cheap, brandless boots (I think they were from Kohl’s) for a few years now. I’ve really worn them out, but I couldn’t seem to find a suitable replacement. I’m always cold, though, so I knew this was the winter I would find a nice, higher quality pair. Leather = warmth, after all. I ended up with 2 pairs! Wearing them around the house to make sure they’re right. Here’s a photo of my Boot Flamily.

The left pair is called Hilaria from Report Shoes. They aren’t leather, which is disappointing, but I found them before the middle pair, and they were the first comfortable boots I’d tried. Which leads to the glorious pair in the center: Cayden style from B.O.C.. Cayden doesn’t seem to be available on the B.O.C. site. These come up to my knee, are LEATHER, snug and hold my foot in place. And they’re warm! I originally didn’t want a pair that came to my knee (shorties, raise your hand!), because I felt it really cut my short legs in half. But I actually like how they look, and love how they feel so far. I think we’ll be very good friends heading into the even colder winter months. And the right pair? My long-time buddies ❤ Anyone know where they might be from?

Enough shoe talk. Last bit of weekend excitement! I’m performing in a community Messiah Sing-along, and I’m thrilled to say I was selected to sing the Soprano “Rejoice, O Daughter of Zion!” solo. I’ve been singing everyday and working hard. I’ve missed this kind of musical work. Collaborating with fellow musicians, listening to all sorts of recordings, and that crazy-obsessed, ultra-focused feeling you get when you spend a lot of time with one piece of music. Plus I’m inspired by fellow soloists and our awesomely talented accompanist. I’m grateful. I have more work to do before performance day, but I’m excited!

My score :)

My score 🙂

What has your attention or is inspiring you lately?


52. Fabulous Friday! – The Elongated Eyelash edition.

It’s time for another themed blog post – Fabulous Friday! On Fridays, I’ll write posts relating to fashion, makeup, media, or even entertainment news/culture. Sounds too fun, right? Here’s the catch! It will always relate to advertising or branding in some way. Even more fun!

My current mascara – more on that later!

Today’s Fabulous Friday topic? Eyelashes, of course. Ladies, you know you’re guilty of picking up the slightly fancier-looking mascara that claims to make your lashes 10 TIMES LONGER, FULLER, MORE ATTRACTIVE. I know I’m definitely guilty of it!

After going out and buying the mascara that will turn your life around, do you ever feel slightly disappointed when your lashes don’t look 23 TIMES LONGER (or was it just 10?) than before? In many eye makeup commercials, I think it’s obvious that the models have on false lashes. So it will make my false eyelashes 10 times longer, right? I don’t have a huge problem with models wearing false eyelashes, but how much is too much?

The Advertising Standards Authority is no stranger to ethics and rules of advertising beauty products. Competing companies L’Oreal and Dior are bickering about a new print ad from Dior featuring Natalie Portman. L’Oreal complained to ASA that Natalie Portman’s eyelashes appeared far longer than what would be possible with makeup. Dior admitted to digitally enhancing her lashes, resulting in the ASA having Dior pull the ad.

 While the ASA ruled in favor of L’Oreal this time around, L’Oreal has had it’s fair share of answering to the ASA in the past.

After looking at the Natalie Portman image, I was curious to see what L’Oreal’s current mascara ads looked like. When I found this on the main page of the makeup section of their site, I was a little amused.

The image for their new Voluminous mascara appears to be extremely edited. The model must have also been wearing some kind of false eyelashes in the image as well. I’m not sure how L’Oreal can pounce on Dior when they’re releasing images like this. Natalie Portman’s eyelashes at least look like a normal thickness, even if the length is a little extreme.

When I visited New York in May to tour ad agencies, one agency took us into their production lab and showed us all the editing that goes into many makeup print ads. It was fascinating to see! Adding and taking away hairs, changing eye shapes – everything! While they were showing us, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Dove’s Evolution of Beauty commercial.

Since Maybelline is my favorite mascara brand, I decided to take a peek around their site as well. I was pleasantly surprised to find behind the scene videos of their commercial shoots! Up close and personal with the models, you can see what they looked like before any sort of editing was done. Nothing like this was presented on the sleek Dior and L’Oreal sites. Providing videos like this makes the brand feel a bit more personable.

Makeup and beauty brands have a tough decision to make when it comes to deciding how much editing is too much. You don’t want to be lying to your consumers, but you want the models to appear as beautiful as possible! As far as mascara goes, I don’t have a problem with models wearing false eyelashes in ads. I’d of course prefer it if they didn’t, since it hides whatever the product actually does to real eyelashes. But at least you know that you could achieve a similar look if you wore false eyelashes as well. You can’t really achieve digitally enhanced eyelashes as easily.

33. Disruptive Fashion?

Seeing what an outfit might look like on you without actually having to put it on would be a pretty sweet deal, right?

In this Japanese spot for Google Chrome by Wieden+Kennedy Tokyo, a group of friends are able to model clothes for each other…using a projector! Take a look.

While watching this ad, all I could think about was how something like this could be a disruptive business idea for a clothing store.

There could be a booth in the store that has a simple computer set up inside. Customers could search through an online catalog of sorts that displays all the clothes currently available in the store. They could put together an entire outfit, including shoes and accessories! They could even choose their size. Once the outfit is all put together, it could be projected onto a wall, just like in the Google Chrome ad. People could see whether or not they liked the outfit they’d put together. If they did, they could print out a little image of it (hey…a good use for the Little Printer we talked about in class) to reference while they shopped. They’d also be given the choice to swap articles of clothing and create a different outfit. To tie digital into the mix, from the booth in the store they could take a picture of themselves in the projected outfit and upload it (using the booth’s computer) to their social networking sites to share with their friends! It could be a simple one or two click process to do this.

I’ve seen this projector technique used in a furniture store before, but it was at least 12 years ago, leaving quite a bit to be desired from the technology. They had a white couch set up in a room opposite a wall that had a projector in it. The projector was full of image slides that had different couch fabric patterns. You could stand and watch the different fabric options change as the projector flipped through the slides. I always loved going to this store with my parents just to hang out in the room with the couch. Because it was quite a long time ago, the colors from the projector didn’t show up nearly as well as the clothing colors do in the Google ad, but the idea is definitely similar.

Nordstrom’s has done something similar to this idea in the past by creating a photo booth in the girls’ dressing room.

I love this idea, but I think they could have taken it one step further by giving girls the option of uploading their photos to the web directly from the machine. Zeus Jones even mentions how their research taught them that young girls use social networks to express themselves. It would have been the perfect final step.

Because this projector idea is already being used in the ad, I don’t know if I’m allowed to call it disruptive; however, I think this fun technique of being able to get an idea of what an outfit would look like on you has the potential of being a great addition to a clothing store that is up to the challenge of creating it.

9. The power of brands and fashion faux pas.

I had a bit of an “ad major learning about brands” moment while shopping with a friend over the weekend. We were perusing the sales rack in forever 21 when my friend spotted this jacket.

Pulling it off the rack, she said, “It has an A for Alissa! You have to get it!” I was in desperate search of a coat (I still am!), but the style and cut definitely wasn’t for me, despite the cute “A” patch. Just as she was about to place it back on the rack, she noticed the price tag was written in Japanese, yen symbol and all. My friend and I are both Japanese majors, so this probably excited us more than your average forever 21 shoppers. After noticing the tag, it was as if a switch had been flipped in my mind. Suddenly the jacket was much more adorable and something I could totally see myself in. Pulling it off the hanger, I tried it on. It fit okay. Just okay. The cut was wrong for me, but the fact that it came from Japan made me want to like it.

Before taking Creative Strategist, I may not have realized exactly why I wanted the jacket. I would have thought, “I like Japan! That’s why!” But is it that simple? If I look at Japan as a brand for a moment, it makes more sense. People want to associate themselves with the ideas and emotions of brands they like. They want to be associated with other people who consume the brand. As Debbie Millman puts it in her book, “Brand Thinking and Other Noble Pursuits”, when she was younger she “believed that by the sheer virtue of acquiring these objects, they would magically convert [her] into a dramatically different person – the person [she] longed to be.” In no way am I implying that I long to be Japanese, but my interest in the country, language and culture makes me want to purchase things from there or things that Japanese people purchase, even if it may be something I might not normally purchase. I know I’ve done it in the past. At times I stop myself and think, “Wait a minute. Why am I buying this?!” In Dan Levy’s article about personifying brands, his interview with Jeff Pulver leads him to the realization that “people often extend their love of the brand directly to the person who represents them without any indication of who that person really is.” While I’m not comparing the Japan brand to a person here, his idea also represents how people who are loyal to a brand have a higher tendency to buy whatever the brand produces, no matter what it is. For me, simply the fact that it came from Japan was enough to grab my interest and make me take a second look.

Scott Bedbury may refer to this phenomenon as my desire to feel a deeper connection and sense of belonging with a country I’ve invested the majority of my college career in. In his book “A New Brand World”, he discusses the importance of belonging and how it affects our decisions to invest our time and money in a particular brand.  He explains how “the mere possession of a product can make consumers feel as if they are somehow deeply connected to everyone else who owns the product.” Owning a jacket that was most likely sold in Japan and purchased by Japanese customers would definitely give me some sort of feeling of having a closer connection with Japan.

Thankfully I resisted all these urges and put the jacket back, knowing all too well that if something doesn’t fit me perfectly in the store, I’ll never wear it at home. Besides, it’s not the clothes I wear that let people know of my love for Japanese, right?

With all this new knowledge about the strength of brands, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to ignorantly shop again! Turns out I can’t escape my ad-major mind, even on the weekends.